From the Forum West:
According to the combined results of the two listening sessions, residents favor construction of a boardwalk as their top choice for all three basins. The only options among the top three priorities for any of the basins that involve development was at basin three, where a nature center was the second choice, followed by recreational opportunities.
However, some audience members took exception with the paper surveys, questioning where they were distributed and why they weren’t handed out to all meeting participants or sent to local community boards. Also, some questioned why the results of a 2007 survey on Ridgewood Reservoir were not taken into consideration. Of the 253 paper survey respondents, 11% ranked baseball or softball fields as the highest priority in terms of the new facilities they would like built at the reservoir site.
When asked why the 2007 survey was dismissed, Quinn said there were concerns that it was flawed or not thorough enough. “We spent a lot more time on this survey,” he said. Still, many in the room felt the prior results should also be taken into account. “To me, its mind boggling that you threw it out,” said Lou Widerka.
Ozone Park resident David Quintana also questioned the validity of the paper surveys, and accused Parks of using them to get the results they favored. “These surveys have no transparency at all,” he said.
Vincent Arcuri, chairman of Community Board 5, said that the city needs to “bite the bullet” and look at the conditions at the existing fields. “We have not paid proper attention to Highland Park in recent years,” he said. “You ask anyone what’s needed at Highland Park and they’ll tell you the same thing – those fields are garbage.” Instead of building fields in the reservoir basins, Arcuri said Parks has to “be realistic” and address the existing fields.